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Among the self taught, microprocessor design and computer design have not been as popular as radio electronics and programming. I hope this changes. Early chapters describe the principles and methods most needed to implement stored programs and most characteristic of early microprocessors. Variations are discussed later. Some programming and electronics experience could prove helpful. A passion for acquiring a new skill is far more important.
Chapter 1 - Logic Gates
Chapter 2 - Sequences
Chapter 3 - The ALU
Chapter 4 - Registers
Chapter 5 - Latches
Chapter 6 - Timing
Chapter 7 - Instructions
Chapter 8 - The PSR
Chapter 9 - The Stack
Chapter 10 - Reset
Chapter 11 - The Barrel Shifter
Chapter 12 - VLIW
Chapter 13 - Addition
Chapter 14 - Subtraction
These chapters have not provided information about electronics or optics or any other branch of physics which might be used to implement logic gates. The behavior of logic gates has been described in terms of truth tables. While their underlying technology may change frequently, the skill of composing useful and economically important digital devices from logic gates will be very enduring. The increased popularity of this skill might even motivate the study of the physical means of producing logic gates; but it might provide a greater and more immediate benefit to general prosperity.
It seems possible that more programmers will acquire this skill and apply their inventiveness to the design of microprocessors and other digital devices. Logic designers might submit their designs to organization like Mosis
for prototyping. Since a long study of underlying technologies is not needed, other technologists, logicians, and gazetteers might contribute their ideas to this area.
Given the resurgence of entrepreneurship, perhaps one day the design of microprocessors will not be the exclusive province of so few companies or of employees obliged to nondisclosure agreements.